Afternoon tea is a British institution and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Butter your scones and cut the crusts off of your sandwiches, as National Afternoon Tea Week commences today (14 August). We’ve rounded up the best teas that London has to offer to help you make the right choice and we’ve categorised them for extra specificity...pinkies at the ready.

Words: Eamonn Crowe

Best for International

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Aquavit, St James’s

What: If you fancy trying something different, Aquavit offers both sweet and savoury delights, all with a Nordic twist. Nosh on the likes of open-faced sandwiches, traditional Swedish cakes and tarts, and a Punsch-roll. Guests can choose from three packages, deciding on Swedish coffees or Dom Pérignon Champagne – book Aquavit now

Where: St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street, SW1Y 4QQ

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Cinnamon Bazaar, Covent Garden

What: Cinnamon Bazaar’s daily offering is available from 3-5.30pm, swapping out cucumber sandwiches for the likes of tandoori chicken and chutney sandwiches, ‘bhangra’ lamb sliders and vegetable samosas, alongside Indian teas and chais – book Cinnamon Bazaar now   

Where: 28 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Sosharu, City

What: For a pretty-as-can-be afternoon tea, head to Sosharu for its Japanese-inspired offering. The unique menu features wagashi (confectionary) of the sweet and savoury variety, alongside tea blends and specially designed cocktails. Expect the likes of matcha iced fingers and Taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake filled with white chocolate crème patisserie and seasonal fruits, to keep those hunger pangs at bay – book Sosharu now  

Where: 64 Turnmill Street, EC1M 5RR

Best for traditional

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

The Game Bird, St James’s

What: Known for its menu of British comfort food, The Game Bird’s afternoon tea is no different.  The menu includes four signature blends of tea including the Queen’s Stafford Blend, to be enjoyed alongside a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with seasonal jams and Cornish clotted cream, and freshly-baked patisserie – book The Game Bird now

Where: The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NJ

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Millie’s Lounge at The Ned, City 

What: Soho House’s City hotspot serves a classic afternoon tea in its British-American mashup Millie’s. Served from 2-5pm Monday to Saturday, the tea involves all the usual suspects, including scones with jam and clotted cream, and dainty sarnies. Sip on a choice of teas or add some sparkle with a glass of Perrier-Jouët – book Millie’s now

Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Hotel Café Royal, Regent Street

What: Having just won in the ‘traditional’ category at the Afternoon Tea awards, it’s clear that Hotel Café Royal knows its way around a scone. Its summer version includes English cucumber and rose pepper cream cheese sandwiches and sweet treats such as summer berry mousse and strawberry mojito macaroons – book Hotel Café Royal now

Where: 68 Regent Street, W1B 4DY

Best for Quirky

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Bluebird, Chelsea

What: It’s time to think pink with Bluebird’s rosé afternoon tea. The team have created an all-pink affair, including red velvet rolls, pink macaroons, and rose petal-iced cakes. The tea is served with either a glass of Château Minuty's Provencal Rosé, shimmering Rosé Champagne or a Lychee Rosé Martini – book Bluebird now

Where: 350 King's Road, SW3 5UU

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

The Dorchester, Mayfair

What: Although The Dorchester may be the epitome of traditional, its afternoon tea is anything but. The ice cream and Champagne experience includes the usual finger sandwiches and cakes, alongside three different ice cream flavours (served in cones) ranging from black berry mojito, to honeycomb and strawberry basil – book The Dorchester now

Where: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA

Afternoon tea roundup summer 2017 - the savoy

The Heliot Steakhouse, Soho

What: You’re unlikely to find dainty types here. Heliot’s MeaTea offering includes the carnivorous likes of burgers with truffle sauce. There’s also the option to get a little bit tipsy, with three beers, cocktails and wines, which have been carefully considered to complement the food – book The Heliot Steakhouse now

Where: 42-43 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH

Best for boozy

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

OXO Tower Brasserie, South Bank

What: If you’d rather swap out tea and scones for cocktails and cake, head to OXO. Options to choose from range from the Pimm’s Plate, inspired by the infamous summer tipple, or the Taste of Summer plate, which is dedicated to the fruits of the season – book OXO Tower Brasserie now

Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

The Soho Hotel, Soho

What: If you’re looking for a more adult afternoon tea, try throwing in some Scottish gin at The Soho Hotel, with its G & Tea. Bites to eat include black pepper and vanilla macaroons and gin-cured salmon, while there’s a dedicated gin trolley for those wanting to get their drink on – book The Soho Hotel now

Where: The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH

Afternoon tea London restaurants bars

Punch Room, Fitzrovia

What: Punch Room’s alternative to afternoon tea is its Scandal Water experience, which sees five punch and food pairings. Diners can expect smoked ham hock, green tea jelly, caper and cornichon matched with Emerald Green Mao Feng tea or almond, lemon and rosewater cake served with English peppermint tea and Toledo Punch – book Punch Room now

Where: 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP

Still craving finger sandwiches? Click here for a fuller list of the best afternoon teas across London

This article was published 8 August 2017